Hélène Harroff-Tavel, Technical Officer, Labour Migration Branch, ILO Geneva
Wittingly or unwittingly, media can play its part in creating an unbalanced discourse about labour migration. Inaccurate, biased media reporting can lead to misinformation, and at worse, may be an instigator for discrimination, xenophobia and unfair treatment. The ILO Director-General has repeatedly expressed concern about the toxicity of migration in political discourse and in the media, and spoken of “the importance of not just finding theoretical solutions, but moving to action to address situations of extraordinary drama.” One concrete, pragmatic way of doing so is by working in partnership with media to raise the standards of reporting on labour migration. Launching its first global media competition entitled “Reporting Fairly on Labour Migration” in 2015, the ILO has promoted benchmarks for quality reporting and engaged key partners in the process, including International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the International Organisation of Employers (IOE), and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). A total of 258 entries were received. The competition was fierce among the contestants from leading international and national media outlets, and subsequent coverage of the results widely discussed and shared on social media. The winner of the “Citizen Journalist” category also shared with the ILO the good news that Reporters Without Borders, upon hearing the news of the awards, had offered him a three month scholarship in Germany!The entries from the ILO’s global competition will now be used as teaching materials in the media training workshops, foreseen in 2016-2018 under the new ILO global project Integrated Programme on Fair Recruitment (FAIR) funded by SDC’s Global Programme on Migration and Development. These trainings build upon a pilot media initiative that the ILO has been running in the Middle East for the past 24 months, working with media professionals, trade unionists and human rights advocate to improve media reporting on labour migration. Please visit http://www.ilo.org/global/topics/labour-migration/policy-areas/guidance-for-journalists/awarding-excellence/lang--en/index.htm to learn more about the competition and to have a look at the winning contributions.